I have always struggled with the concept of paying the band, caller and sound tech a
percent of the admissions. It penalizes them when attendance is down for something out of
their control ( a huge number of dancers went to an out of town weekend or the weather was
really bad) and, of course, the opposite can be true for good nights.
Instead, we have a standard pay schedule not tied to attendance and make adjustments for
special occasions as needed. We monitor it throughout the year to be sure it is all
evening out. If there is a problem over time, we tweek our strategy to put us back where
we need to be. We have close to 100 events a year - so there is a big enough sample to
keep any single dance from causing a problem.
From: Merle Mceldowney <merle.mceldowney(a)gmail.com>
To: A list for dance organizers <organizers(a)sharedweight.net>
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 3:24 PM
Subject: Re: [Organizers] Booking & treasury - (was: booking as a team?)
It can get really complicated. We pay the musicians a set amount with a 50
percent cut of the gate. We need that 50 percent. Many of our dances do
not make the expenses, so the ones
that do well help out with the ones that
loose. We have a saturday night every week from September untill May; that
is a lot of dances. We have been doing this for 60 years. We also run a
weekly english dance.
I have been involved for about 15 years. a long time. I think only three
of the board members have been around longer than me. One problem - and
this often involves payment of musicians is policies get lost over time.
There is a manual available that covers a lot of stuff but when there is a
question the people in charge of the dance do not realize there is a
description of that policy someplace in this large binder we have that has
Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 3:59 PM, Dana Dwinell-Yardley <danadwya(a)gmail.com>wrote;wrote:
Good heavens: that kind of miscommunication sounds
like no fun at all to
deal with. I'm grateful (especially now that I'm taking on booking
responsibilities!) that we now have a very clear payment system figured out
After we take out our overhead, and pay the sound guy, we split what's left
evenly between the folks on stage, with a limit on band size. So:
2-person band (3 people on stage) = 1/3 to caller, 2/3 to band
3-person band (4 on stage) = 1/4 to caller, 3/4 to band
4-or-more-person band (5+ on stage) = 1/5 to caller, 4/5 to band
We also have a minimum guarantee if we have a lower turnout, which isn't
all that often. We subsidized 7 of our 28 dances last year, but we had 4
dances with a huge turnout and well more than that with an above-average
turnout, so it all comes out in the wash.
We make special exceptions to this VERY rarely: for example, last time our
dance was on New Year's Eve, we paid the band and caller a little extra to
stay past midnight.
It took us a while to iron all this out as a committee, but it was well
worth it for the lack of confusion we have now!
Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 12:00 PM, <organizers-request(a)sharedweight.net
Jerome Grisanti wrote:
Make sure you let the treasurer know who is getting paid, and how much
> I've been in the uncomfortable situation of handing someone money and
> having them say, "this is not the agreed amount." I've also been the
> caller when the person with the bank asked, "how much do we pay you?"
> ... Of course, it's not about the money, but smooth relations.
> AMEN !
> In my
experience, lack of clarity on money happens all-too-often.
> It's usually not a big deal, but occasionally
makes a mess.
> I still have uncomfortable feelings about a glitch like this -- from
> over a decade ago. At the break, the treasurer came up to me and
> began, "We should have talked about this in advance ..." It turned
> out that instead of the standard payment (which I had been led to
> expect), they wanted to apply a different formula (reducing my pay)
> because of an unusual band situation. I didn't know what to say, but
> observed that I had traveled hundreds of miles, which might also be
> considered unusual ... We concluded the discussion (which occupied
> the break, and
would have been more happily spent socializing, and
2nd half) with me saying "Just do whatever seems best to
> The organizer felt ruffled and grumpy, I felt ruffled and grumpy. I
> suspect that whatever compromise was achieved was explained to the
> band, so they felt that way, too. Ugh ! A lot of unnecessary
> annoyance over $50 or so.
> As Jerome observes, "it's not about the money, but smooth relations."
> It's really worth the extra communication to avoid putting performers
> and volunteer organizers in awkward situations.
> (postscript: there was a blizzard on Sunday, and I totaled my car on
the way home. Definitely not my favorite dance weekend of all time ...)
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